Fox News Channel's Geraldo Rivera is alleging that PBS investigative series "Frontline" has set its sights on Fox News and parent company News Corporation in a major phone-hacking exposé.
News Corporation became enmeshed in scandal last summer amid allegations that its now-defunct British tabloid "News of the World" hacked the cell phone messages of crime victims, celebrities and politicians in a quest for splashy headlines. News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch and his son testified before British Parliament as part of the investigation. The scandal was largely limited to the United Kingdom, despite the company's many U.S. holdings: In addition to Fox News, it is the parent company of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, among others. No U.S. companies have so far been implicated.
In a lengthy Facebook blog post published Tuesday, the "Geraldo at Large" host said he was out to dinner last month with former colleague Lowell Bergman, now a producer and correspondent for "Frontline." Bergman, who produced the infamous "60 Minutes" tobacco company exposé, suddenly began "interrogating" Rivera about the hacking scandal:
He explained that his investigative reporting program at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, in association with reporters from ProPublica are probing our corporate parent, News Corp’s U.S. properties; specifically the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
The expose is due to run on PBS’ ‘Frontline,’ “in the next few months,” he told me in an ominous tone.
According to Rivera, Bergman lamented the fact that he and his students have been unable to get any Fox News journalist "to go on the record with derogatory information about News Corp."
[H]e lectured me, saying, according to my notes, “You’re a news organization. You say you have the right to wear a press pass. Well, that comes with certain obligations to defend your company.”
When I told him I was still not interested, and that I was going to report everything he had said to my superiors, his frustrated tone turned threatening, “I’ve got all these journalism students at Berkeley straining at the bit to contact every reporter working for Fox News.”
Now glaring back at the indefatigable Mr. Bergman, I asked, “Are you threatening me?” which he denied, then I said, “Let me get this straight. You are the most left-wing reporter in television news, a Berkley professor no less, and you’re working with ProPublica, the most hard-left reporters’ group in the business, and you’re going to air your documentary on Public Television, and you expect me to convince my colleagues at Fox News that you’re going to give us a fair-shake? Give me a break.”
That was one month ago, Rivera wrote. On Tuesday, he spotted a "Frontline" van outside his office.
"Today a van from PBS’ 'Frontline' is parked outside our office," he wrote. "I hope they’re not hacking my phone."